a small but perceptible shift

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 22, 2008

Now this is a change-up: an even-handed and non-sneering story, in the Washington Post, about pro-life college students assembling for the annual March. The paper's ideological style-sheet still makes itself felt (it's an "anti-abortion" gathering), but the usual edge is missing:

Ellie Baum, a student at Purdue University who rode 14 hours in a bus to attend the conference at the Catholic University of America, said she was inspired to join the antiabortion movement after witnessing the birth of her sister's child three years ago.

"From that experience, I realized there was no difference between a child after it's born and when it's in the mother's womb. It made me really passionate about this issue," said Baum, 20, an engineering major from Wisconsin. "Every day, as many people die from abortion as the number who died in 9/11. We have to stop it."

Remarkably, the students interviewed for the story are taken seriously, not discussed with patronizing amusement or ridicule, not depicted as cultists. There's even an effort to hear what they're saying about themselves instead of what their adversaries say about them:

A common theme was the need to focus on the challenges of being a mother. Several participants said the antiabortion movement has evolved in that direction, partly to counter criticism that it was indifferent to the hardships of raising a child in poverty or alone.

That kind of objectivity may seem a modest accomplishment, but it would have been unthinkable in a mainstream media organ ten years ago. [Tip to Amy]

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